Campsite craic and travelling tips – part 1, the ferry

Post holiday blues on Parenting Pobal we talk about our holiday to France

Now we are back into the mundane return to normality I have decided to torture myself and relive it all knowing that we won’t have another holiday until next year. But hopefully there will be some useful tips and hints for others who may be getting ready to go on a similar holiday this summer.

First up – the ferry trip

We traveled with Irish Ferries on the WB Yeates on the over night ferry. I booked us into a cabin with three beds and also hired a cot bed. The fact that the ferry departed from Dublin port was a huge plus for us as it meant we didnt have a long drive when we docked home. We also choose a campsite that wasnt too far from Cherbourg Port in France. We had never done a holiday like this and didnt know how easy it would be to do a long drive after the boat journey with smallies. I had no idea what to expect with the ferry but to say I was really impressed with the facilities on board is an understatement.

The cabins were compact but had everything we needed, – clean comfortable beds, small storage area, a tv, bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink. The lights could be dimmed so that when the kids slept we could read.

When I was packing I packed a small seperate carry on with our clothes, pjs, wash bag, blankies, books, nappies, wipes, calpol etc, basically anything we needed on the boat. That case was the last one to go into the car for ease of access when we parked on the boat.

Food on the ferry was grand, but I would definitely recommend bringing lots of snacks and drinks and for breakfast bringing your own cereal as a small packet of weetabix which only was enough for one smallie, cost three quid. Bottles of water werent cheap either. Next time I would be aiming to buy just dinner on the boat.They had three restaurants – one more formal sit down for a three course kinda thing, one ‘brasserie’ where had lots of options and is where breakfast was served and finally a pizza place coupled with the coffee shop.

In terms of entertainment we brought colouring books and a PJ masks card game and those came in handy. There was a soft play area which was a big hit and Olivia and Derek went to the cinema to watch Dumbo. I could have done with a few more things for Thomas as when older kids were in the soft play he was getting pushed around. On the way back we took his ball on and he loved walking up and down kicking it along. The ferry was really really spacious so even with big numbers you didnt feel like everyone was on top of each other, and with different areas if you didnt like one place you could move around.

The wee ones actually slept both going over and coming back!! Right through. Although on the way over we did have to ask a large group of exchange students to move from outside our room. From 11 I think, it is quiet time and there are porters walking the halls to move along anyone making noise. I wish I had brought earplugs for me because I regularly work to them moving people along.

The big thing I did learn from our ferry experience is that I have no sea legs at all, much to the amusement of Derek and the wee ones. I spent a lot of time loosing my balance on what was a very smooth sailing!! I made the mistake of sleeping on the top bunk on the way over and in the middle of the night while checking on the wee ones I came down the ladder and went head over shite. On the way back then, I had dibs on the bottom bed before we even left Cherbourg!

Wobbly legs aside we can’t wait to sail again next year.

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